One of the challenges that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) face while working abroad is homesickness. Being miles and miles away from their family and loved ones can bring emotional longing and take a toll on their mental health.
In such circumstances, meditation can be an invaluable tool to combat homesickness and foster a sense of connection, peace, and well-being. Meditation offers a refuge from the challenges and isolation that come with living in a foreign land, providing a means to find solace, find inner strength, and cultivate a sense of rootedness despite physical distance.
In line to celebrate World Meditation Day, we will look at the different types of meditation practice and some meditation techniques that will suit our OFWs. According to GoOverseas, meditation is a powerful tool that can be used by people abroad to combat homesickness. Not only that practicing meditation will help OFWs welcome their daily life with an optimistic outlook but will also make the difficult emotions a bit bearable.
Celebrate World Meditation Day this 2023
Healthline defines meditation as ‘a technique used for thousands of years to develop awareness of the present moment.’ It offers a myriad of advantages, ranging from reducing stress and anxiety to improving concentration and overall well-being. Incorporating meditation into our daily lives can lead to profound positive changes, enhancing both our mental and physical health.
According to National Today, meditation practice is believed to start in India at around 1500 BCE. Old records have shown references of ‘jhana’ or ‘dhyana’ which means ‘training of the mind,’ rooted from the belief in Vedantism. Other discoveries also revealed that meditation has also been practiced in China as early as the third and sixth century.
Today, we celebrate world meditation day every 21st of May with the aim to spread awareness about the benefits of meditation in finding our inner harmony and peace, especially in this fast-paced modern world.
What are the Different Types of Meditation?
Some OFWs may be new to the idea of meditating and may feel a bit hesitant to try the practice. Why not try guided meditation? Best for beginners, it is a process of creating a visual imagery in your head that in return brings a sense of calmness. It also heightens other senses by incorporating calming scents or relaxing sounds. Some techniques include focusing on your breathing or going through a body scan– all with the purpose of making someone feel relaxed and grounded.
Typically practiced with a teacher (hence the name), guided meditations can also be done via online or by downloading meditation apps.
Mindfulness meditation is a specific form of meditation that can be particularly beneficial for OFWs dealing with the challenges of being away from home. Mindfulness meditation involves intentionally paying attention to the present moment with a non-judgmental and accepting attitude. It helps OFWs cultivate a state of heightened awareness and focus, allowing them to fully experience their thoughts, emotions, and sensations without getting overwhelmed by homesickness or other stressors.
To begin meditating, find a comfortable place, close your eyes, and slowly take a few deep breaths. Pay attention to your thoughts and observe patterns without any judgements. To help you concentrate, focus on your breathing while you take note of physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts. Mindfulness meditation is best for beginners as it doesn’t require any teacher and can be done alone.
This meditation exercise may sound fancy but in reality, it’s just choosing a word or mantra and chanting it to yourself repeatedly. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit down, close your eyes, and repeat your mantra for 20 minutes.
If sitting still for a couple of minutes isn’t the cup of tea and ‘practical’ for some OFWs, they can opt to try walking meditation. This mindfulness practice is an efficient way to integrate meditation in their lives without interrupting their daily routine.
OFWs focus their attention on the physical sensations and movements associated with walking. They become mindful of each step, feeling the contact between their feet and the ground, the shifting of weight, and the rhythm of their breath. Walking becomes a deliberate and intentional act, allowing OFWs to cultivate a deep presence in the present moment. This practice can be particularly valuable for OFWs who may find themselves caught up in the pressures of work or feeling disconnected from their surroundings. By engaging in walking meditation, they can rejuvenate their minds and bodies, reduce stress, and enhance their overall well-being.
It is believe that the human body have seven focal points known as chakras, all located in different parts of the body and centers along the spine. The practice of chakra meditation involves directing one’s attention to specific energy centers along the spine, visualizing and breathing into each chakra to activate and balance its energy.
For OFWs facing the challenges of living and working in a foreign country, chakra meditation can be particularly beneficial in promoting emotional and energetic well-being. It provides OFWs with means to restore balance and alignment in their physical, emotional, and energetic bodies. Each chakra is associated with specific qualities and aspects of life, such as stability, creativity, self-expression, love, and intuition.
Loving kindness meditation
Loving-kindness meditation, also known as metta meditation (Buddhist tradition), is a practice that cultivates feelings of love, compassion, and kindness towards oneself and others. OFWs who may experience feelings of loneliness or longing for their loved ones, loving-kindness meditation can be a powerful tool to foster emotional well-being and connection.
This practice involves repeating specific phrases or intentions that express goodwill and compassion, directing these sentiments towards oneself, loved ones, acquaintances, and even difficult individuals.
Benefits of Meditation
Managing Homesickness and Emotional Well-being
For OFWs dealing with homesickness and emotional turmoil being away from home, meditation can be a valuable tool to develop emotional resilience and find solace in their current situation. Meditation provides a space for them to process their feelings, reduce anxiety, and cultivate a sense of inner calm. It allows OFWs to acknowledge and accept their emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them, promoting a greater sense of balance while lowering the stress levels in their body.
Stress Reduction and Coping with Challenges
Meditation can help alleviate stress, allowing OFWs to navigate difficult situations with greater clarity and composure. Regular meditation practice activates the body’s relaxation response, reducing stress hormones and promoting a state of calm. By incorporating meditation into their routines, OFWs can enhance their ability to cope with stress, improve decision-making skills, and maintain a positive mindset amidst challenges.
Helps promote care and compassion
Meditation encourages care and compassion for OFWs, not only for themselves, but to other migrant workers as well. This practice may deter feelings of inadequacy or self-judgment as a result from being far from home. Meditation helps them nurture their mental and emotional well-being; creating an environment filled with kindness, understanding, and acceptance towards themselves and others along the way.
Enhancing Focus and Productivity
The practice of meditation improves focus and concentration, enabling OFWs to be more productive in their work and daily activities. By training the mind to stay present and anchored in the current moment, meditation reduces distractions and enhances the ability to concentrate. This heightened focus and clarity can lead to increased productivity, efficiency, and overall job performance.
Cultivating Connection and Mindfulness
Meditation can foster a sense of connection and mindfulness, even in the midst of a foreign environment. By practicing mindfulness meditation, OFWs can develop a deeper appreciation for their surroundings and cultivate a sense of presence and connection. This practice helps OFWs stay grounded and connected to their experiences, relationships, and cultural heritage, providing a sense of belonging and a source of strength.
Learning to practice meditation, especially for OFWs can reap a lot of benefits, particularly in dealing with homesickness. By incorporating these practices into their daily routines, they can find solace, develop emotional resilience, and maintain a deep sense of connection with their home country and loved ones. Meditation provides a pathway to inner peace, helping OFWs navigate the challenges of their overseas journey with a renewed sense of purpose and well-being.